Government Reader Contributed

Legislators Speak to West Hartford Middle Schoolers about Bipartisanship

State Rep. Derek Slap (left) and William Petit speak with Solomon Schechter Day School middle school students about bipartisanship. Photo credit: Sam Norton (submitted photo)

State Rep. Derek Slap of West Hartford and State Rep. William Petit of Plainville promoted bipartisanship in a program at Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford.


State Reps. Derek Slap (D-West Hartford) and William Petit (R-Plainville) spoke to middle school students at the Solomon Schechter Day School in West Hartford Wednesday morning and stressed the need for bipartisanship in government.

The lawmakers were invited to the school as part of its civics and government curriculum. The school often includes outside speakers as part of the instruction, but this is the first time Solomon Schechter has hosted two representatives – from different political parties – at the same time.

“We invited state Reps. Slap and Petit to come and share and demonstrate to our middle school students how bipartisan politics can work. Seeing that people go into public service to work toward a common good, even if through different viewpoints, with the willingness to compromise is essential for our system and also for our students to see. It is a means to restoring our faith in our democratic system. My sense is that local politics has the ability to show this to us in profound ways,” said Andrea Kasper, head of Solomon Schechter Day School.

“While we may hold different political views, as lawmakers, we must come together to find common ground and work together for the good of the people of Connecticut,” Petit said. “We must respect our differences, be willing to listen, even if we see things differently, and celebrate what unites us rather than what divides us. It is my hope that the visit yesterday with Rep. Slap and myself helped to demonstrate these values to our young learners. These students are the future, and it is incumbent upon us to set a strong example of bipartisanship and good will, from which they can learn.”

“Success in politics and governance depends on a lot of the same practices we teach our children – collaboration, mutual respect and compromise,” Slap said. “That’s my message to these students. No matter what career they pursue, it’s important to listen to others and be open-minded. I enjoy serving with Rep. Petit and greatly value his perspective on issues. I hope by our visit yesterday, students see the spirit of bipartisanship is alive and well in Connecticut.”

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